Verdict 2011: The BJP’s Path to 2014
Let us start with two facts. First, if one actually analyses the BJP’s Lok Sabha performance through the years (and a similar analysis can be done for the Congress), it will be seen that the party has won at least once in about 300 of the 543 Lok Sabha constituencies.
Second, the BJP is in power directly or with an ally in 9 states which account for 170 seats. The party is competitive in states with 219 seats, and almost absent in states with 154 seats. Thus, for the BJP, the pool of seats where it can hope to win is about 389 (170+219), with about 55-60 seats going to its three current allies (JD-U in Bihar, Shiv Sena in Maharashtra and Akali Dal in Punjab). That leaves the BJP competing to win in about 330 seats.
States in which the BJP can get allies are states where the BJP has little or no presence. Thus, there is little benefit for a party to ally with the BJP prior to the election. In fact, the perception has been created that an alliance with the BJP may cost the ally votes from specific communities.
So, the BJP’s best bet is to focus on these 330 seats and aim to win 225-250 of them. With the three present allies, they must aim to reach the half-way mark of 272 on their own. Only then can they deliver the governance and development to the country that they have been doing at the states.
For this, the BJP does not need a leader who can win more allies. In fact, according to me, it needs no more allies because none will come. On the contrary, the BJP needs a national leader who can help the party win the maximum number of seats in the ones they contest.